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<   No. 793   2005-03-29   >

Comic #793

1 Minnesota Jones: {walking purposefully across Santorini} If Dr Smith still has the orichalcum, she'll be ditching the Nazis and taking it to Moscow.
2 Prof. Jones: Can't we follow Haken back to Berlin instead?
3 Minnesota Jones: But Moscow will have the orichalcum!
4 Prof. Jones: But Berlin has beer halls!
4 Monty: {to self} She kissed him...

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The repetition of a dumbfounded line by a character over successive strips is a technique I first saw in the venerable Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz.

In the 1962 Baseball World Series, the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees were tied at 3-3 with the final and deciding game played at Candlestick Park. In the bottom of the 9th, with the Yankees leading 1-0, the Giants had two outs, a runner on third and Willie Mays representing the winning run on second base. Willie McCovey strode to the plate to try to bring the series home for San Francisco.

Any baseball fans reading this know what happened next. McCovey slammed a hard line drive to right field over the head of Yankee second baseman Bobbie Richardson...

Over his head, but not over his glove. He snatched the catch, ending the game, and securing a 4-3 series win for the Yankees.

Schulz, being a dedicated Giants fan, was devastated. So much so that he drew a Peanuts strip in response. Charlie Brown and Linus are sitting on a pavement, heads morosely drooped, saying nothing for three panels. In the last panel, Charlie Brown yells, "Why couldn't McCovey have hit the ball three feet higher?"

A follow-up strip opened with the same three panels, ending with Charlie Brown screaming, "Why couldn't McCovey have hit the ball just two feet higher?"

Growing up in Australia, and having no idea about baseball, I still found these strips somewhat funny. The humour for me was built purely on the repetition from one strip to the next, as I didn't understand the reference. In fact, although I always remembered those particular strips while I have forgotten most of the other of the thousands of specific Peanuts strips I've read over the years, I never understood the reference until just a few months ago, when I decided to research it.

And it's a fascinating story.

And the Giants still have not won a World Series since moving from New York to San Francisco in 1958, despite coming agonisingly close once again in 2002. So as the US baseball season dawns once again... Go Giants!

2014-05-12 Rerun commentary: Since this strip was first published back in 2005, the San Francisco Giants have won the World Series twice, in 2010 and 2012. On my trip to San Francisco earlier this year (in February 2014), I took one of the guided tours of AT&T Park. One of the features of the tour is the trophy room, in which I saw the World Series trophies for those two years.

I hadn't realised until I saw those two trophies sitting there that the World Series trophy is not a perpetual trophy, handed from the previous year's winner to the current winner each year. A new one is made each year and presented permanently to the winning team.

It seems this is common in major American sports (the NFL's Lombardi Trophy and NBA's O'Brien Trophy are similarly made anew each year, but the NHL's Stanley Cup is a perpetual trophy). It seems odd to me though - all the other sports I have followed have perpetual trophies. So it never even occurred to me that there would be multiple World Series trophies made.

On another note, events in the 2006 FIFA World Cup would later (after this strip was published) inspire me to make this special edition strip, even more directly inspired by Peanuts and the 1962 World Series.

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